What’s The Difference Between “Imminent,” “Immanent,” And “Eminent”?

When something is imminent, that means it’s “impending.”  Immanent isn’t a typo; it means “inherent.” And, e minent means “distinguished.”

Now that that is cleared up … how do you use each of these in a sentence?

How to use imminent in a sentence

Imminent means “likely to occur at any moment or impending.” It refers to something that’s approaching, about to happen, anticipated, or threatening to occur.

For example, in his novel Coquette (1921), author Frank Arthur Swinnerton uses the word to describe someone’s arrival: “While she was waiting, she one day received a letter from Toby, announcing his imminent arrival in London.” Here, imminent means that Toby’s arrival to London is about to happen.

A more recent example (2017) from Daniel Summers in the Daily Beast: “For children on the cusp of mobility, it’s all about the childproofing. When crawling and walking are imminent, I talk with parents about getting the house ready.”

How to use immanent in a sentence

Immanent means “remaining within or inherent.” It’s often used in philosophical and spiritual contexts.

In When Winter Comes to Main Street (1922), Grant Martin Overton writes, “And yet, for some, reality is not immanent in the affairs of this world but only in those of the next.”

Another example from C.K. Mahoney in his 1922 The Philosophy of Prayer: “I hear them speak of an immanent God; of a God who fills all nature.” 

How to use eminent in a sentence

Eminent means “high in station, rank, or repute.” It also means “prominent, or distinguished.” It can describe a person, place, or thing.

For example, the president of the United States can be described as “an eminent world figure.” One may also say “The White House is eminent,” meaning that it’s a prominent and highly ranked symbol of the United States.

An eminent professor, as another example, is one of the most distinguished and notable ones in their fields.

Eminent domain is a legal term that refers to “the power to take private property for public use.” Federal, state, and local governments can use this power. For example, a state government may issue an eminent domain law to gain access to a private field and convert it into a public park.

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